Wing and Lewis Lakes are nestled beneath the startling face of Black Peak and just over the mellow Maple Pass. They're accessible as a day hike from the Rainy Pass Trailhead.
The hike takes you past Lake Ann, over Heather Pass, around the right side of Lewis Lake, and to the banks of the gorgeous Wing Lake with stunning views of Black Peak, one of the tallest mountains in Washington.
Make sure to check out our Complete Guide to Hiking Black Peak if you're interested in this much harder scramble!
Wing and Lewis Lake Trailhead
The trail to these incredible alpine lakes begins at the Rainy Pass Trailhead and parking lot. Just off Highway 20, this large, well-paved parking area is also the starting point for the hike to Black Peak and Lake Ann.
Although this parking lot is quite large, it still fills up on lovely summer days. It's not uncommon to see cars parked along the highway. Some choose to do this in an effort to avoid paying the $5 Northwest Forest Pass fee.
The trailhead is clearly marked and includes a large wooden sign with information about the area.
What to Expect
If it's summer, expect a lot of mosquitos at Wing and Lewis Lakes. Some hikers choose to carry mosquito netting to avoid the worst of it!
Crowds on weekends. This is a very popular area.
The parking lot requires a Northwest Forest Pass.
There is no camping at Heather Pass. This is a fragile area, and the signs won't let you forget it!
Beginning the Hike to the Lakes
The hike is fairly easy to start out. It includes a few moderate switchbacks that soon open up into views towards Liberty Bell Mountain and other peaks in the North Cascades.
Lake Ann and Heather Pass
The trail dives back into the woods, and before long, you'll see a sign for Lake Ann, which directs you to the left. Keep straight ahead, and you'll get a lovely view of the lake below you in only a few minutes.
Following the well-marked trial, you'll find yourself on a slightly uphill path directly toward Heather Pass. Lake Ann will soon come into view below you and to the left with its small island.
Heather Pass is at just about 6,000' and is accessed via a small trail that branches off to the right of the main path. If you continue straight, you'll be on the Maple Pass Loop, which is also quite scenic but not nearly as adventurous as the hike down to the lakes.
After navigating the small trails at Heather Pass, you'll get your first shocking view of the valley that holds your destination. Directly ahead, on the other side, is Black Peak, which has an elevation of nearly 9,000'.
Although it may seem intimidating, from here, climb down the slope to the boulder field. You should see cairns or small stacks of rocks around the field, indicating which way is the easiest and/or most direct. But, just keep aiming down and a little to the right, and you'll be out of the rocks in no time. They're annoying, but you'll be glad you didn't turn back at the boulder field when you see the crystal-clear blue water!
The trail regains normal terrain and drops fairly steeply down towards a river. You'll need to cross to the other side wherever feels safest and continue over another small hill before you get your first look at Lewis Lake. On the right-hand side, you'll find campsites and the trail to Wing Lake.
The second of the two lakes and the farthest from the trailhead. It's less often visited by those who make the trek into this area of North Cascades National Park, but it is well worth the extra effort. When Lewis Lake is completely ice and snow free, it's possible that Wing Lake still has some residual ice even into July.
The trail up to Wing Lake is harder than most of the terrain you've faced so far. Continue to follow the trail around Lewis Lake (on the right-hand side!) and then move back into the woods, where it's often stuffy and buggy.
The trail is sometimes hard to see here, so if you lose it, look around to cairns to guide you back in the right direction. Next, you'll move through some open terrain with more views of Black Peak up ahead before climbing over a crest and seeing Wing Lake below you. It's possible to walk around the right side of Wing Lake. The left is also accessible, but the terrain is more difficult.
Spend as much time here as you want before turning around and trekking back the same way you came. Or, if you've come for a larger objective, continue on to the notch below the left-hand ridge of Black Peak, where the class 3 scramble to the summit starts.
Camping at Lewis and Wing Lakes
The two lakes are popular camping destinations. There are sites at either lake, with those on the right side of Lewis Lake being the more popular. They are near the water so expect there to be bugs throughout most of the year.
The best sites at Lewis Lake are on the eastern side overlooking the lake. You'll have a rocky slope below you but plenty of room to spread out. Keep in mind that the site is nearly directly on the path to Wing Lake, so hikers and other campers will be walking right by you.
The same goes for Wing Lake. The best sites are on the east side along the path towards Black Peak. Make sure to only camp and pre-established sites, those that are clearly designated for camping with fire rings and rock barriers.